The 3 Ways Work Can Be Automated

We are at an interesting tipping point regarding how and where work gets done. As business leaders and managers, we have become increasingly capable of engaging a workforce that is some combination of virtual and on site, part time and full time, permanent and contingent. But just when we’ve sorted out preferred management routines, there is an entirely new landscape emerging with technology options central to the work and possibly your business model: work automation. How, when, and where should leaders be thinking about applying the various automation technologies to their businesses?

There are currently three technological enablers of work automation: robotic process automation, cognitive automation, and social robotics. Each technology fits a different kind of work and has different implications depending on the work to be done, as described in the chart below.

The simplest and most mature so far is robotic process automation. It can be used to automate high-volume, low-complexity, and routine tasks. It is particularly effective in automating the so-called “swivel chair” tasks, where data needs to be transferred from one software system to another. These tasks are traditionally done by humans. For example, they may involve taking inputs from emails or spreadsheets, processing the information by applying certain rules, and then entering the output into some other business systems, such as an ERP or a CRM. Creating a virtual workforce of software robots can help companies streamline operational processes as well as increase the quality and cost-effectiveness of shared services.

Nevertheless, most of the current excitement around work automation stems from systems that can replace humans in nonroutine, complex, creative, and often exploratory tasks — in other words, systems that can automate human cognition, or cognitive automation. Developments in machine learning, powered by scalable computing resources in the cloud and heavy investment in exceptional human talent by the large players in the IT industry, are making computers capable of recognizing patterns and understanding meaning in big data in a cunningly human-like way. This “recognition intelligence” is showcased in systems for voice recognition, voice-to-text, natural language understanding, image understanding, and a host of other applications that are increasingly becoming available to consumers and companies.

Companies can use these cognitive automation technologies in three ways. First, they can further automate, or completely reengineer, their business processes. Take, for example, the car insurance industry. Instead of having human agents visit cars to assess the damage, an app used by the car policy owner and powered with image recognition intelligence could process photos of the car damage, assess the degree of the damage, estimate and classify the size of the claim, and pass the information for final approval to a human, thereby significantly simplifying the claims process in terms of both time and cost. Cognitive automation like Google Glass can transform the work of a flight attendant, for example. The ability of such technology to enable traditional jobs to be disaggregated and to supplement or replace routine activities presents opportunities in efficiency, effectiveness, and impact.

The second area of opportunity with cognitive automation is for companies to develop new products and services. In the previous example, the intelligent app could be part of a new offering to car insurance clients, perhaps with added features such as a chatbot that could provide additional, on-demand advice about insurance to the policy owner.

Finally, cognitive automation can be used to gain new insights into big data. When it comes to transforming a company’s strategy around the future of work, talent analytics combined with machine learning can be a very powerful tool for analysis and prediction.

Another area that is rapidly evolving is social robotics. Unlike their predecessors, this new generation of robots is not bolted on an assembly line; they are mobile and move around in our everyday world. They can be drones that fly or swim, anthropoid robots that walk, or swarm robots that roll on wheels. They are programmable and can adapt to new tasks. This new generation of social robotics can automate routine as well as nonroutine tasks. Freed from the assembly line, the social robots can collaborate with humans in a variety of applications that were unthinkable a few years ago.

A good example is the Kiva robots that Amazon has been using to increase the efficiency of its order fulfillment process. Instead of walking the aisles to find the right packages, humans now stand on platforms while an army of social robots brings the right package to them at the right time. By reengineering the process using robots, Amazon did not replace the human workers but rather made them more productive in the same way the aforementioned app allows human adjustors to take on more cases by focusing on the “higher value added” activities while the app takes on the more routine aspects of the job.

Amazon’s employees now take 15 minutes to fulfill some orders instead of 90 minutes, an increase of 20% in efficiency; the small size of the robots also allowed Amazon to increase the size of ist inventory by 50%. Management oversees the entire fulfillment process, including the work interactions between robots and humans.

As the half-life of skills continues to shrink, the growing premium on reskilling is causing many organizations to rethink the risks associated with full-time employment in order to reduce the risk of obsolescence. The different variations of work-task automation, like the ones here, can deliver viable solutions to all of the above concerns. Selecting the right technology for automating work tasks and improving performance is therefore critical for business, as is the alignment of the selected technology with a comprehensive strategy for the future of work.

Source: Harvard Business Review- The 3 Ways Work Can Be Automated

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RPA: Mapping out a plan for enterprise automation

Robotic process automation technology has the potential to make business processes more efficient, boost productivity and save lots of money by enabling “virtual workers” to take on tedious tasks — without the odious work typical of big enterprise-level applications. But this type of enterprise automation is an emerging technology, tools are still taking shape, and matching robotic process automation (RPA) to the right process is “still an art form,” says Forrester analyst Craig Le Clair. Because the technology is so new, he says, businesses risk implementing systems without the safety net that underlies mature technology. Read on for advice around establishing IT’s role in RPA projects and hear from two execs who have implemented RPA. Elsewhere in this issue, we examine how Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority upgraded its obsolete on-premises infrastructure. And Nationwide Mutual Insurance’s Guru Vasudeva explains his IT department’s lean management system.

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Source: searchcio.techtarget.com- RPA: Mapping out a plan for enterprise automation

2016 State of Digital Transformation

In the age of the customer, the next generation customer experience will be powered by artificial intelligence. When everyone and everything is connected to the Internet, companies must leverage information and digital technologies including cloud computing, mobile, social, Internet of Things (IoT) and AI to transform how they connect with customers in a whole new way. Per Gartner, 89% of marketers expect to compete primarily on the basis of customer experience. Customer experience is a top priority and managed as a team sport. Digital business transformation will require an experimental and technology-led mindset that must be inclusive of the entire business – marketing, sales, services, IT, R&D and customer and partner communities. How can companies today leveraging technology to drive digital business transformation? To better understand the state of digital transformation, I spoke with Brian Solis, a world renowned digital business expert regarding his most recent research.
Brian Solis (@briansolis) is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist at Altimeter, a Prophet company. Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an award-winning author and avid keynote speaker who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation and innovation. Brian has authored several best-selling books, including What’s the Future of Business (WTF), The End of Business as Usual, and Engage!. His latest book, X, explores the intersection of where business meets design to create engaging and meaningful experiences.
The latest focus by Solis is ‘The 2016 State of Digital Transformation’ research, designed to learn about how companies are changing and the challenges and opportunities they face while doing so, per Solis. The research is based on input from 500 digital transformation strategists and executives who are digital transformation change agents.
Let us begin by first defining digital transformation. According to Solis, digital business transformation is defined by:


The realignment of or investment in new technology, business models, and processes to drive value for customers and employees and more effectively compete in an ever-changing digital economy.

Research overview:

  • Digital transformation is one of hottest trends in business today but the term itself means different things to different people.
  • Many organizations continue to wrestle with balance of technology and organizational priorities to define a collaborative productive path toward change.
  • IT remains influential in driving digital transformation.
  • In 2016, companies are making progress, but customer-centricity still appears to be more about words than actions.
  • Customer experience remains top driver of digital transformation, but only half of the companies have mapped or are mapping the customer journey.
  • Digital transformation is pushing businesses, across departments and functions, to collaborate, innovate, and design new business models and processes.
  • Innovation has become a key priority in digital transformation efforts.

The 2016 State of Digital Transformation Key Findings:

1. Customer Experience (CX) remains the top driver of digital transformation. But IT and marketing still influence technology investments (even without fully understanding customer behaviors and expectations)

53% of companies cite “growth opportunities in new markets” as a driver to not only reach existing customers in better ways, but also expand markets.

2. 55% of those responsible for digital transformation cite “evolving customer behaviors and preferences” as the primary catalyst for change.Yet, the number one challenge facing executives (71%) is understanding behavior or impact of the new customer. In my opinion, companies must lean into their CRM platform to accelerate transformation and grow market share. This will require investments in smart applications powered by artificial intelligence (machine learning, deep learning, analytics – proactive and prescriptive analytics) and marketing automation technologies that are integrated with services and sales lines-of-business.

3. Leaders struggle to understand new connected customer behaviors.
“Companies that don’t grasp or internalize the customer journey are obstructed from seeing its potential for optimization and innovation,” said Solis.

4. The #1 challenge facing executives (71%) is understanding behavior or impact of the new customer. Yet, only half (54%) of survey respondents have completely mapped out the customer journey. This means that many companies are changing without true customer-centricity.

“Another top challenge facing digital transformation is the very thing that governs the course of business: a culture that is pervasively risk-averse (63%). Boards, shareholders, and stakeholders want to make improvements and increase profitability but are often unwilling to examine and change the governance in place today,” said Solis.

5. Only half (54%) of survey respondents have completely mapped out the customer journey. This means that many companies are changing without true customer-centricity.

6. The top three digital transformation initiatives at organizations today are:

  • Accelerating innovation (81%);
  • Modernized IT infrastructure with increased agility, flexibility, management, and security (80%);
  • Improving operational agility to more rapidly adapt to change (79%).

The CMO and CEO continue to lead digital transformation.

7. According to the survey, digital transformation is largely led by the CMO (34%). Not far behind, though, is a digitally savvy generation of CEOs who, at 27%, recognize that it’s time to lead their companies into the 21st century, according to Solis.

Which departments are digital transformation change agents?

8. Digital departments are now very common, with 81% of companies citing their existence. Yet, only 40% have a formalized cross-functional workgroup. These digitally focused groups tend to employ four to five full-time employees.

9. Innovation tops digital transformation initiatives at companies today. 81% said it was at the top of their agenda, 46% stated their company has launched a formal “innovation center.” Right behind innovation was modernizing IT infrastructure (80%) and improving operational agility (79%).

10. Disrupt or die? Despite all the lip service it gets, only 19% cited “fear of disruption” as a major reason for digital transformation efforts.

11. Mobile is still not getting enough respect. A mere 20% of leaders surveyed are studying the mobile customer journey/behavior.

“Mobile is just the beginning of disruption in the customer journey. With the runway for disruptive technologies still ahead (e.g., wearables, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality), companies will need a resilient infrastructure that adapts to not only mobile’s “micro-moments,” but also the impact of all these trends and new devices over time,” said Solis.

A good reference for to better understand the six stages of digital transformationand how mature companies implement emerging technologies.

12. More data, less understanding. 71% of leaders said understanding behavior of connected customers is a top challenge they face. Despite more data being available, this number has increased from 2014, when only 53% cited familiarity with this challenge.

13. There is ROI in digital transformation.
41% of leaders surveyed said they’ve witnessed an increase in market share due to digital transformation efforts, and 37% cite a positive impact on employee morale (37%).

“Digital strategists must still rethink metrics to chart future development in new channels, experiences, content, and devices,” said Solis. In the early stages of digital transformation maturity, survey respondents revealed the six most important metrics that organizations can actually measure around digital transformation right now are:

“Existing KPIs help validate early work in digital transformation. But often, measurement efforts are focused on measuring isolated efforts within each department/function. For example, only 22% of those surveyed cited having a content strategy in place that addresses customer needs at all journey stages, but content analytics are in the top five most important metrics measured. There is disconnect between strategy and measurement in digital transformation efforts,” said Solis.

14. Digital transformation appears to be driven by short-term plans: Just 29% of companies have a multi-year roadmap to guide to digital transformation evolution.

What are the top benefits of digital transformation?

“Digital Darwinism favors those companies that invest in change,” said Solis.

“Digital transformation isn’t easy though. Its true evolution takes time and resources, with benefits delivered in the longterm. This, to some, can represent deliberate moves away from delivering against quarterly returns. That’s the paradox of investing in digital transformation; it gives returns to those who treat it as a long-term investment versus those who expect immediate impact,” said Solis.

15. Companies are realizing types of ROI any C-suite and board can appreciate:

  • increased market share (41%) and increased customer revenue (30%).
  • Additionally, the ROI of digital transformation is reflected in employee morale. In that regard, 37% of respondents stated that second to increased market share, employee engagement was the next big return.

16. Digital transformation required multi-disciplinary involvement – To accelerate innovation, 46% of those surveyed stated that their company has launched a formal “innovation center” to understand and test new technologies and develop new solutions/services.

17. More advanced companies combat disruption and expand innovation by partnering with startups, investors, entrepreneurs, and universities to accelerate use and adoption of emerging technologies.

18. 51% of businesses partner with the startup ecosystem, 28% focus on product innovation and or concept development and 13% hope to enhance CX as a result of their innovation center.

“Digital transformation is as much a technology story as it is one about how people lead change inside and outside the company. The human factor is pervasive in each of our reports on the subject. It’s really the driving force behind evolution and revolution in business,” said Solis.

Source: Huffington Post – 2016 State of Digital Transformation

How machines will change our lives in India

Experts have already started sounding the warning bells. As per a report published by advisory analyst firm HfS Research in July, the true impact of the emergence of intelligent automation will be felt on the global industry of 15 million IT services and BPO workers. (Reuters)

The world is not moving towards a dystopian future just as yet, but one can’t deny the effect innovations in the robotics field will have on human life, especially when it comes to a waning workforce as a result of increased use of automation technologies.

Experts have already started sounding the warning bells. As per a report published by advisory analyst firm HfS Research in July, the true impact of the emergence of intelligent automation will be felt on the global industry of 15 million IT services and BPO workers, which will see about 1.4 million job losses—a net decrease of 9%—by 2021. In India, the services industry workforce is expected to shrink by 4.8 lakh by 2021, a decline of 14%—HfS Research estimates that the IT services and BPO industry employs about 3.5 million people in the country.

Last year, technology research firm Gartner predicted that one in three jobs will be converted to software, robots and smart machines by 2025. New digital businesses require less labour and machines will be able to make sense of data faster than humans, it noted.

In a country like the UK, the robot revolution is expected to displace almost 35% jobs in the next 20 years and around 30% London-based jobs in the same period, predicts a recent report released by Deloitte—a professional services firm based in New York—in association with the University of Oxford.

Taking giant strides

The predictions have already started to show on the ground. In May, there were reports that Foxconn, which manufactures Apple and Samsung phones, has replaced 60,000 labourers with robots at its factories. As per reports, the total worker strength at the manufacturing giant has gone down from

1.10 lakh to 50,000, marking a huge shift towards automation of routine jobs.

Although Foxconn confirmed to BBC that it is automating many manufacturing tasks associated with its operations by introducing robots, it, however, maintained that the move will not affect long-term job losses. The company has said it will provide skill upgrades to enable its workers to focus on higher-value elements in the manufacturing process, such as R&D, process control and quality control.

This came just days after former McDonald’s CEO Ed Rensi publicly endorsed the use of robots for routine tasks at the restaurant chain, saying it’s cheaper to invest in a $35,000-robotic arm than to hire an employee with wages of $15 an hour. “…Well, if you can’t get people a reasonable wage, you’re going to get machines to do the work.

It’s just common sense. It’s going to happen whether you like it or not. And the more you push this, the faster it’s going to happen,” Rensi said on Fox Business TV channel in a recent interview.

The India story

Closer home, homegrown IT company Intex recently said it’s now using robot-assisted technology for almost everything at its manufacturing unit in Noida, with the aim to provide the best products to customers. “Earlier, we used to import components in a semi-knocked-down form, but now, we get them in completely-knocked-down form. We assemble everything at our manufacturing unit,” Amitabh Khurana, head of manufacturing at Intex Technologies, was quoted as saying in media reports recently.

Robotic technology and automatic testing machines in Intex labs have helped increase the productivity and quality, as per Khurana. Also, the company now has an automated research and development centre in New Delhi, as well as one in China for physical testing of products.

“We have a machine that tests camera, audio, video and the speaker automatically at one go and is a completely Internet of Things machine,” Khurana added.

After invading the shop floors of automobile-makers and IT hubs, robots are now entering battery plants as well. India’s largest auto battery-maker Exide Industries has reportedly started an ambitious project to produce batteries manufactured fully by robots to eliminate any inconsistency in quality due to human presence on the shop floor.

The first of the project, with technology sourced from East Penn Manufacturing of the US—one of the world’s leading manufacturers of lead-acid, gel-cell and absorbed glass mat batteries—would be implemented at a 25-acre facility at Haldia in Bengal soon, where the company has an existing plant. Exide will be spending R1,400 crore over two years to extend this to its other manufacturing facilities, say reports.

Who’s making it happen?

When e-commerce major Flipkart was looking at improving its processes to handle the strong demand surge during the festive season last year, it found that manual sortation of thousands of packets with hundreds of pin codes in a few hours was leading to costly inefficiencies. Further, it had also partnered with a large number of third-party logistics vendors for last-mile delivery across India. These vendors would charge for each shipment based on manually-approximated packet weight and dimensions, and this meant a potential revenue loss for Flipkart due to lack of accurate data.

It was then that the company turned to robotics firm GreyOrange. After a methodical analysis, GreyOrange designed a solution for Flipkart and implemented its ‘Linear Sorter’ system across the company’s fulfillment and transport centres. The robotics firm installed two double-deck and five single-deck sorters of capacity 6,000 sorts/hour each—and four sorters of capacity 3,000 sorts/hour each—across Flipkart’s eight transport centres and the Hyderabad fulfillment centre.

“We witnessed early success with e-commerce and logistics industries, as they were early adopters of technology. However, there is immense opportunity for industrial automation in India, given that the current level of automation is very low as compared to other markets like the US or China. As not much can be done in the area of transport logistics, the pressure on warehouses to deliver faster at lower costs is increasing manifold,” says Yaduvendra Singh, global head, sales, marketing and solutions group, GreyOrange.

So far, the company, which counts Amazon India, Jabong, Delhivery, GoJavas, Aramex, DTDC and Kerry Logistics—apart from Flipkart—as its clients, has raised $35 million in series A and B funding by global venture capital firms Tiger Global Management, Blume Ventures and some angel investments.

Omnipresent Robotics, another robotics, industrial UAV/drone and video analytics solutions provider based in New Delhi, has a slightly different focus area.

“Robots and drones are most useful in hazardous environments where companies do not want to put valuable employees at risk,” says Aakash Sinha, CEO and co-founder of the company founded in 2010.

“Our primary focus is on providing drone-based solutions—360-degree service solutions with custom-built industrial robots (drones for industrial inspection, river-cleaning robots, drones for defence and emergency response, etc) and intelligent software that powers our robots. We have recently forayed into consumer bots like Speedobotix (an educational robotics kit) that is targeted at children aged eight years and above,” adds Sinha.

A man’s best friend

Allaying fears of robots ‘taking over the world’, Kalpana B, partner and head, robotics and cognitive automation, KPMG India, says, “Any phenomenon towards change always creates some amount of apprehension.

Automation and robotics would bring about the need for upskilling the existing workforce and, therefore, we can expect imminent changes in job profiles over the next two-five years. While traditional titles or roles might vanish, new jobs would be created, as the future generation might not want to have traditional desk jobs. Necessity may further drive innovation and start-ups.”

For more clarity, Kalpana B quotes the example of enterprise resource planning, or ERP, phenomenon of the 1990s. ERP is a business process management software that allows an organisation to use a system of integrated applications to manage the business and automate many back-office functions related to technology, services and human resources.

“When the ERP phenomenon occurred, there were apprehensions that an accountant’s job may perish. While the process of writing on huge manual ledgers did perish, there were different jobs for the same accountants. The need for upskilling of the service industry is now and real, and needs to happen,” she adds.

Agrees Singh of GreyOrange, “We had the same argument when computers were launched and look where that has gotten us,” he says.

“The introduction of computers only changed the way people traditionally did business. It had no negative impact on jobs. Similarly, robotics has helped humans get significantly more productive and take up high-end jobs. Machines may continue to evolve and demonstrate sophisticated artificial intelligence capabilities, but may never match human creativity and intellect,” he says, adding, “In other words, a robot complements, but does not replace a human worker.”

Source: financialexpress.com-How machines will change our lives in India

2016 State of Digital Transformation

“Efforts in customer experience often serve as the heart and soul of digital transformation.” – Brian Solis

In the age of the customer, the next generation customer experience will bepowered by artificial intelligence. When everyone and everything is connected to the Internet, companies must leverage information and digital technologies including cloud computing, mobile, social, Internet of Things (IoT) and AI to transform how they connect with customers in a whole new way. Per Gartner, 89% of marketers expect to compete primarily on the basis of customer experience. Customer experience is a top priority and managed as a team sport. Digital business transformation will require an experimental and technology-led mindset that must be inclusive of the entire business – marketing, sales, services, IT, R&D and customer and partner communities. How can companies today leveraging technology to drive digital business transformation? To better understand the state of digital transformation, I spoke with Brian Solis, a world renowned digital business expert regarding his most recent research.

Brian Solis (@briansolis) is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and also a futurist atAltimeter, a Prophet company. Solis studies the effects of disruptive technology on business and society. He is an award-winning author and avid keynote speaker who is globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders in digital transformation and innovation. Brian has authored several best-selling books, including What’s the Future of Business (WTF), The End of Business as Usual, and Engage!. His latest book, X, explores the intersection of where business meets design to create engaging and meaningful experiences.

The latest focus by Solis is ‘The 2016 State of Digital Transformation‘ research, designed to learn about how companies are changing and the challenges and opportunities they face while doing so, per Solis. The research is based on input from 500 digital transformation strategists and executives who are digital transformation change agents.

Let us begin by first defining digital transformation. According to Solis, digital business transformation is defined by:


The realignment of or investment in new technology, business models, and processes to drive value for customers and employees and more effectively compete in an ever-changing digital economy.

Research overview:

  • Digital transformation is one of hottest trends in business today but the term itself means different things to different people.
  • Many organizations continue to wrestle with balance of technology and organizational priorities to define a collaborative productive path toward change.
  • IT remains influential in driving digital transformation.
  • In 2016, companies are making progress, but customer-centricity still appears to be more about words than actions.
  • Customer experience remains top driver of digital transformation, but only half of the companies have mapped or are mapping the customer journey.
  • Digital transformation is pushing businesses, across departments and functions, to collaborate, innovate, and design new business models and processes.
  • Innovation has become a key priority in digital transformation efforts.

The 2016 State of Digital Transformation Key Findings:

1. Customer Experience (CX) remains the top driver of digital transformation. But IT and marketing still influence technology investments (even without fully understanding customer behaviors and expectations)

53% of companies cite “growth opportunities in new markets” as a driver to not only reach existing customers in better ways, but also expand markets.

2. 55% of those responsible for digital transformation cite “evolving customer behaviors and preferences” as the primary catalyst for change.Yet, the number one challenge facing executives (71%) is understanding behavior or impact of the new customer. In my opinion, companies must lean into their CRM platform to accelerate transformation and grow market share. This will require investments in smart applications powered by artificial intelligence (machine learning, deep learning, analytics – proactive and prescriptive analytics) and marketing automation technologies that are integrated with services and sales lines-of-business.

3. Leaders struggle to understand new connected customer behaviors.
“Companies that don’t grasp or internalize the customer journey are obstructed from seeing its potential for optimization and innovation,” said Solis.

4. The #1 challenge facing executives (71%) is understanding behavior or impact of the new customer. Yet, only half (54%) of survey respondents have completely mapped out the customer journey. This means that many companies are changing without true customer-centricity.

“Another top challenge facing digital transformation is the very thing that governs the course of business: a culture that is pervasively risk-averse (63%). Boards, shareholders, and stakeholders want to make improvements and increase profitability but are often unwilling to examine and change the governance in place today,” said Solis.

5. Only half (54%) of survey respondents have completely mapped out the customer journey. This means that many companies are changing without true customer-centricity.

6. The top three digital transformation initiatives at organizations today are:

  • Accelerating innovation (81%);
  • Modernized IT infrastructure with increased agility, flexibility, management, and security (80%);
  • Improving operational agility to more rapidly adapt to change (79%).

The CMO and CEO continue to lead digital transformation.

7. According to the survey, digital transformation is largely led by the CMO (34%). Not far behind, though, is a digitally savvy generation of CEOs who, at 27%, recognize that it’s time to lead their companies into the 21st century, according to Solis.

Which departments are digital transformation change agents?

8. Digital departments are now very common, with 81% of companies citing their existence. Yet, only 40% have a formalized cross-functional workgroup. These digitally focused groups tend to employ four to five full-time employees.

9. Innovation tops digital transformation initiatives at companies today. 81% said it was at the top of their agenda, 46% stated their company has launched a formal “innovation center.” Right behind innovation was modernizing IT infrastructure (80%) and improving operational agility (79%).

10. Disrupt or die? Despite all the lip service it gets, only 19% cited “fear of disruption” as a major reason for digital transformation efforts.

11. Mobile is still not getting enough respect. A mere 20% of leaders surveyed are studying the mobile customer journey/behavior.

“Mobile is just the beginning of disruption in the customer journey. With the runway for disruptive technologies still ahead (e.g., wearables, Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality), companies will need a resilient infrastructure that adapts to not only mobile’s “micro-moments,” but also the impact of all these trends and new devices over time,” said Solis.

A good reference for to better understand the six stages of digital transformationand how mature companies implement emerging technologies.

12. More data, less understanding. 71% of leaders said understanding behavior of connected customers is a top challenge they face. Despite more data being available, this number has increased from 2014, when only 53% cited familiarity with this challenge.

13. There is ROI in digital transformation.
41% of leaders surveyed said they’ve witnessed an increase in market share due to digital transformation efforts, and 37% cite a positive impact on employee morale (37%).

“Digital strategists must still rethink metrics to chart future development in new channels, experiences, content, and devices,” said Solis. In the early stages of digital transformation maturity, survey respondents revealed the six most important metrics that organizations can actually measure around digital transformation right now are:

“Existing KPIs help validate early work in digital transformation. But often, measurement efforts are focused on measuring isolated efforts within each department/function. For example, only 22% of those surveyed cited having a content strategy in place that addresses customer needs at all journey stages, but content analytics are in the top five most important metrics measured. There is disconnect between strategy and measurement in digital transformation efforts,” said Solis.

14. Digital transformation appears to be driven by short-term plans: Just 29% of companies have a multi-year roadmap to guide to digital transformation evolution.

What are the top benefits of digital transformation?

“Digital Darwinism favors those companies that invest in change,” said Solis.

“Digital transformation isn’t easy though. Its true evolution takes time and resources, with benefits delivered in the longterm. This, to some, can represent deliberate moves away from delivering against quarterly returns. That’s the paradox of investing in digital transformation; it gives returns to those who treat it as a long-term investment versus those who expect immediate impact,” said Solis.

15. Companies are realizing types of ROI any C-suite and board can appreciate:

  • increased market share (41%) and increased customer revenue (30%).
  • Additionally, the ROI of digital transformation is reflected in employee morale. In that regard, 37% of respondents stated that second to increased market share, employee engagement was the next big return.

16. Digital transformation required multi-disciplinary involvement – To accelerate innovation, 46% of those surveyed stated that their company has launched a formal “innovation center” to understand and test new technologies and develop new solutions/services.

17. More advanced companies combat disruption and expand innovation by partnering with startups, investors, entrepreneurs, and universities to accelerate use and adoption of emerging technologies.

18. 51% of businesses partner with the startup ecosystem, 28% focus on product innovation and or concept development and 13% hope to enhance CX as a result of their innovation center.

“Digital transformation is as much a technology story as it is one about how people lead change inside and outside the company. The human factor is pervasive in each of our reports on the subject. It’s really the driving force behind evolution and revolution in business,” said Solis.

I subscribe to a simple definition of digital per Accenture: Digital is the application of information and technology to bolster human performance. How is your company using information and technology to bolster the performance of your stakeholders – employees, partners, customers and the communities that you serve?

 

Source: Huffington Post-2016 State of Digital Transformation

The 7 Robotic Skills driving the rise of the Robotic and Cognitive Bank and Insurer

There has been a LOT of hype around the impact of robotics software on financial services, and indeed on all service industries, but there is still a lack of clarity around what this genre of software can do. I often hear: “Let’s have a go and see what happens…” but is there a way to deploy this software more effectively?

What is robotics software? Robotics software, ranging from Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to emerging cognitive tools, can be ‘trained’ (coded) to follow electronic enabled procedures, interacting with multiple applications and data sources within a Bank or Insurer via the same means as employees and colleagues. Both – colleagues and robotics software – work together, as an integrated workforce, to deliver key processes and services for both internal and external customers, whether completing a trade, paying a claim, or reporting information to the regulator, to name but a few examples.

So what CAN robotics software do? At Deloitte, we have deployed RPAsoftware, at scale (to the equivalent of the manual effort of 100s of people), within clients’ organisations, and within our own internal support processes, and are advising on the application of emerging cognitive tools, all through the lens of the customer and the relevant business. Through this, I have assimilated that there are 7 Robotic Skills (groups of common skills) that can drive the automationof what traditionally has relied upon human skills and manual effort alone:

The majority of these ‘skills’ are delivered extensively by RPA but cognitive tools provide important additions, such as the ‘skill’ to learn, and increasingly an intelligent and interactive ability to communicate. Critically, these ‘skills’ can be utilised consistently, 24/7, without the constraints of human error, operating at great speeds, all providing great opportunities for a differentiated customer experience, within an attractive expense ratio, allowing the Robotic and Cognitive Bank/ Insurer to make a difference!

At Deloitte, using our deep industry and operational insight, coupled with applied and advanced knowledge of robotic and cognitive tools, we help clients identify which of the 7 Robotic Skills can be delivered by which tools, and to what extent, all to get the optimal level of automation that fits and enhances their customer and client proposition(s). In other words, we can help you figure out what robotics mean for you, how far you can and should go with it, as well as helping you to get there, at the right pace – we do not just disrupt and shape, we deliver.

I would really welcome you getting in touch if you would like to discuss and debate this topic and share practical experiences.

Source: Tblogs.deloitte.co.uk-he 7 Robotic Skills driving the rise of the Robotic and Cognitive Bank and Insurer

CaaS: What CIOs Can Expect and its Possible Disruption on Enterprises?

Intelligent Personal Assistants (IPAs) have been here for almost two decades. Most of us might still remember Clippy, the interactive paper clip in Microsoft Office. Clippy helped beginners navigate through the intricate features of Microsoft Word and Excel. When smartphones took over the world, there was new kind of IPAs that were introduced; the kind which combined machine learning and cognition based computing. They were called cognitive apps. Apple’s Siri, Google Now, and Microsoft Cortana are the pick of the bunch.

CaaS platforms are third-party cloud-based operating systems which enable apps to intelligently interact with their users. Almost every major IT company out there is now working on their own CaaS platform including Google, Apple, Amazon, and IBM. Many experts have predicted that in a couple of years competition between CaaS platforms will replicate the OS wars of the 80s and 90s. Siri, launched in 2011, was probably the most popular. Apart from the usual acts like providing weather information and hotel updates, Siri is also known for having a wry sense of humor. Now it is not that hard to imagine applications or software possessing cognitive abilities like Siri.

So What do Businesses Gain from CaaS?

CaaS can help unlock the mysteries of big data and ultimately boost creativity and productivity of professionals and their teams, of industries and organizations, as well as the GDP of regions and nations. IBM Watson’s recent acquisition and deployment of Cognea offers an indication of the potentials of AI as a business and the areas where the market still needs development.

In an interview to Information Age, IBM’s Senior Vice President John E. Kelly stated, “We’re on the cusp of the ‘third era’ of computing- one of cognitive computing. In the age of tabulating machines, vacuum systems, and the first calculators, we fed data directly into computers on punch cards. Later on, in the programmable era, we learnt how to take processes and put them into the machine, controlled by the programming we inflict on the system. But in the forthcoming era of cognitive computing, computers will work directly with humans ‘in a synergetic association’ where relationships between human and computer blur.”

Cognitive systems are capable of offering limitless opportunities to enhance professional decision-making in diverse sectors. For example, the medical and legal professions represent key industries on which cognitive computing is primed to make an early as well as significant impact. These professions depend heavily on an enormous amount of information that is constantly being rejuvenated through the likes of publications, discoveries, precedents, and advances in technology. In reality, experts estimate that the half-life of medical knowledge, or the time it takes before new information becomes a blast from the past, is merely seven years. Therefore, CIOs in medical and legal firms can look forward to some exciting new applications once CaaS “touches down” their respective sectors.

Furthermore, it is impossible for a single human to take in the constant surge of new information, let alone understand it in the framework of existing knowledge. However, cognitive systems such as Watson or Amelia can help with it. Both Watson and Amelia are built to absorb millions of pages of literature and journal articles while updating their knowledge base, constantly.

In addition to the supreme computational capabilities of computers, these tools give an opportunity for IT professionals to improve upon their expertise and decision making. For an example, a cognitive system may help indicate medical professionals with confidence intervals as to the likelihood of certain diagnosis.

Apart from healthcare, financial services, IT, telecom, and insurance sectors will also witness huge transformation once when these industries start to leverage the capabilities of cognitive computing a few years down the line. Moreover, cognitive computing in partnership with IoT connected devices may even play a greater role in mitigating cybersecurity issues.

The Contenders

According to the latest reports, there are more than 500 companies focused on developing cognitive computing systems. IBM has invested almost 26 billion dollars on its cognitive computing platform, Watson, and is betting big on the technology to take the IT behemoth forward. But of course, IBM is far from the only player in the space with so many other contenders including startups nipping on its heels. Google also has invested sizable sums of money into this area. In 2014, Google went on a crazy shopping spree, acquiring about 30 companies with at least four focusing on artificial intelligence. Cognitive Scale, a startup company founded by an ex-IBM Watson pioneer is making waves by utilizing cognitive computing to provide ‘insights as a service’–the next disruptive technology within CaaS.

Another interesting front-runner in the space is Microsoft. With its Project Adam Microsoft has made huge strides in its AI efforts and it is continually raising the heat up with its “Cortana” technology as a front end. We can already do simple things like talk to an Xbox, but the dominance of Microsoft’s office tools like Word, SharePoint, and Outlook point to a much larger impact. Microsoft has the opportunity to provide every user, let alone businesses, with a smart personal assistant. In a few years from now, we will start to see the rise of truly useful virtual assistants.

Indeed, cognitive computing is all set to make a radical disruption in enterprises’ workflows faster than many people’s expectations. According to Deloitte, by the end of this year, about 80 percent of the world’s largest enterprise software companies will integrate cognitive computing applications into their products. By 2020, Deloitte expects the statistic to reach 95 to 100 percent. For years, artificial intelligence as well as cognitive computing was seen as pure fiction or something which was not anticipated to turn up in the next 20 years or so. Well, what to say, we have reached our targets before deadline!

Source: cioreview.com -CaaS: What CIOs Can Expect and its Possible Disruption on Enterprises?

A two-speed IT strategy for the digital era

As the business world gets rapidly digitized, the practice of “bimodal IT” is gaining popularity. For CIOs who want to keep up with the latest trends in technology, it is important to understand what the term, coined by Gartner, actually means. Bimodal IT is the practice of maintaining two distinct modes — Mode 1 and Mode 2 — of IT delivery. Mode 1 is more traditional, with a focus on stability, while Mode 2 is more exploratory, with a focus on agility.

In this webcast presentation, Kurt Marko, analyst at MarkoInsights, discusses how the era of digitization is driving the idea of two-speed IT. Read on to find out about the important differences between the two modes, the role of cloud services in a bimodal IT strategy, and why IT shops need to be able to develop digital IT products in an uncertain environment.

Editor’s note: The following is a transcript of the first of four excerpts of Marko’s webcast presentation on two-speed IT. It has been edited for clarity and length.

The term “bimodal IT” was coined by Gartner in 2014. And like many of the buzzwords that Gartner coins, it quickly became a very commonly used phrase, and, of course, they were instrumental in promoting that through their venues or their conferences and white papers.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of people ended up hearing the term “bimodal” — and it does seem sort of stark when you hear it — and it sounds like a psychological disorder. But it’s not any of that, and it’s not nearly as threatening as some people seem to make it out to be. But hopefully after the next 20 or 30 minutes, you’ll understand why.

It really defines two modes of IT where, as I say, they are creatively named Mode 1 and Mode 2. But they’re basically categories to describe different characteristics for IT systems and applications, the operating characteristics, the business requirements, the business environment even.

What is the first mode of two-speed IT?

And the notion is Mode 1 would be what most people would consider traditional IT: your big business systems, your ERP, your finance, your HR, those mission-critical systems that really have defined IT for decades. And IT as a discipline grew up around these systems. In fact, actually the way I got into IT out ofproduct development and engineering was as IT was becoming formalized as a discipline, and it looked like it was an attractive opportunity for me both professionally and just intellectually.

But … many, many businesses have become IT-centric, where IT, instead of being just an operator of critical infrastructure, is now an instrumental part of the business itself.

Kurt Markoanalyst, MarkoInsights

And IT became synonymous with conservative, keep it running, but let’s not take too many risks because the business could be at stake if we mess up. And that worked fine for many, many years. Unfortunately, as the business environments have changed dramatically, through the internet, there have been many catalysts, internet, mobility, consumerization of technology. But … many, many businesses have become IT-centric, where IT, instead of being just an operator of critical infrastructure, is now an instrumental part of the business itself.

What is the second mode of bimodal IT?

And this is where Mode 2 comes in, and it’s a concept Gartner calls the digitization of business. We’ll look at that in a bit. But this type of environment is characterized by digital applications that really take their cue almost from the mobile and the internet world, where things have to be fast, agile, fail-fast, continuous delivery, you have new ideas that need to be tested and implemented at at least a very initial stage rapidly. And it focuses on cloud services and design as vehicles for the deployment. Often, it includes mobile as the target application platform.

And this is partly where some of the confusion about bimodal IT has come in because cloud services are really instrumental in these Mode 2 applications, because they allow developers and businesses to both create rapidly and deploy at any scale desired. And so many people consider Mode 2 synonymous with cloud, Mode 1 synonymous with on premises. That’s not the case, and we’ll get into some of the subtleties of why in a bit.

See other excerpts from this webcast presentation on the two-speed IT delivery model.

Part 2: Mode 1 vs. Mode 2.

Part 3: Myths vs. facts.

Part 4: Bimodal IT takeaways.

Two-speed IT delivery model driven by digital economy

As I mentioned, digital business is driving this notion of two-speed IT. And that’s really what this whole Mode 2-Mode 1 dichotomy is about. It’s about having a set of applications that are run conservatively, but it’s important to understand they’re not on life support. And [then there is] another set of applications which need to be developed, deployed very rapidly but where failure is an option and getting it right the first time or getting it perfect isn’t an absolute requirement.

Explaining this rationale for bimodal IT, Gartner talks about this notion of different eras of IT. And the Mode 1 is characterized by this industrial manufacturing line, kind of the Henry Ford era of IT, where it’s about minimizing risk, planning, being predictable, doing it right, maintaining control, reliability, stability.

However, in this era, this digital business era, which they call a third era, there are very different business drivers and that prompts different behaviors. And they characterize the challenges and the activities that IT and businesses need to be capable of the following five [things]:

  • Absorbing new business models rapidly. Being able to adapt to a changing digital environment.
  • Being able to scale up and down rapidly again, and this gets to some of thecloud discussion, but the notion that a successful product may grow demand, like a hockey stick, or it may have very seasonal demands.
  • You have to be able to react both over time and to events as they call them, “business moments,” whether you have a promotional campaign that’s going to coincide with the Super Bowl or the Oscars or some big event that you’re focusing on, or you have a product that gets mentioned on Oprah Winfrey and suddenly demand has shot through the roof.
  • You also have to be able to support different business models. And as we know, the internet and the digital business era we’re in now, whether it’s sharing services like Uber, and Airbnb, or different distribution channels for media like Spotify or digital content books, you have to be able to support different ways of monetizing your digital assets.
  • And you have to be able do this in an environment where you don’t necessarily understand ahead of time what’s going to work and what’s not. And so you have to be comfortable in developing digital IT products in this environment of uncertainty.

Gartner’s contends, and I actually agree with it, these are two very distinct sets of requirements, and that doing it within one business structure of IT is impossible; hence, this idea that you have two modes of your IT organization.

 

Source: searchcio.techtarget.com-A two-speed IT strategy for the digital era